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pre-med committee letters: important or not really??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by StewieGriffin, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. StewieGriffin

    StewieGriffin Junior Member
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    As this is my first post to the boards, I thought I'd say HELLO! and thank yall for the great info I've found lurking around here. As I now have a speedy internet connection of my own, I thought I'd creep out from the shadows and join the conversation.

    Anyways, my question: How important do you think a pre-med committee letter is for adcoms?

    I know not all schools do them, so I was thinking that maybe they aren't a big deal. But if yours does, do you think it will look badly on an application if you don't have one?
    I only ask b/c I feel like my premed advisor is ******ed and has ill-advised me (and others) at certain times on critical things and I just don't enjoy dealing with her. I also thinks she doesn't like me too much after giving her my opinion on some of her advising strategies.
    Anyways, what do you guys think, do committee letters weigh heavily on an applicaiton?

    Thanks all for your responses.
     
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  3. 34140

    34140 Senior Member
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    I don't like my premed advisors either, the keep tell me they won't write me letter b/c they think my grades are too low, well i made some mistakes but have really shown i can try hard and succeed, i work, and i do research, but they are holding me back!
    But they are important, someone told me, that they did not get an adcom letter and they got rejected out of every school they tried.
    Hope that helps
     
  4. maswe12

    maswe12 Member
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    I decided late that I wanted to apply for this upcoming year and when I went to my premed advisor she basically told me that I missed all of the deadlines and that the best they can do is a letter of support that basically said i hadnt been convicted of any crimes. I understand the need to follow deadlines but they need to make exceptions for extenuating circumstances---I didnt miss the deadlines because I was lazy...but because I decided late on medicine. Furthermore this was at Penn and I think i paid for them to help me out in situations like this. Regardless they wouldnt budge and I didnt get the full letter.

    I didnt think that it would be a huge deal as the letter seemed superficial anyway...but its seemed to have hurt me pretty badly. I even had one interviewer tell me it wasnt good that I didnt have the letter. My stats are pretty good ( you can PM me if you really want them) and i didnt get alot of the interviews that I thought I would. So if you want my opinion, the letter seems to be worth a whole lot more than it should. The whole situation with Penn has been pretty bitter and makes me wonder what I spent all the money for.
     
  5. AD2020

    AD2020 Member
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    I think it's good to use the committee letter because it makes things more convenient. Sometimes if your undergrad school has a committee letter and you don't use it, the med school will ask you why.

    I don't think you should worry about your premed advisor - your advisor isn't the one that writes the letter. Here at Cornell, what happens is you get 3 letters from professors, employers, etc and send them all to the committee, then someone from the committee interviews you, then the committee writes a composite letter. For me, my premed advisor never even saw the letter.

    Anyway, good luck!:)
     
  6. TheFlash

    TheFlash Playtime Is Over
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    Get the committee letter if you can. The committee streamlines all your letters into one composite so that only the best things that your letter writers wrote about you shine through. All the extraneous garbage isn't included, hence why adcoms prefer a committee letter versus a packet of various letters. I wish my school had offered a committee. My premed advisor was relatively useless.
     
  7. Bones2008

    Bones2008 waiting for retirement
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    If your school typically sends a committee/advisor letter along with your letter portfolio to med schools, you should absolutely get one. Adcoms tend to be pretty familiar with the practices at different undergrad instituions, and it will be a red flag if you don't have one and everyone else from your school does.
     
  8. Spitting Camel

    Spitting Camel Anteater for Life!
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    They also ask you for the reason you chose not to use the committee letter. If you can come up with a nice way of saying they suck, then you should be fine. I would call up each and EVERY single school and ask, just to be sure...
     
  9. ellemarii

    ellemarii Member
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    definitely NOT important...

    my pre-med committee at my school was comprised of either 1) professors that i couldn't stand, or 2) professors that i didn't know.

    most of my applications asked for a committee letter OR three (or so) letters from professors/physicians/etc. i was never asked why i didn't submit a committee letter. i obtained letters from people who knew me well and would write outstanding references for me (not someone who i had one class with who didn't know anything about me or my motivation). having these higher caliber of letters made a difference - i was told at most of my interviews that my letters were really reflective of my life/personality/motivation and that they stood out.

    your letters will say alot about you. don't leave your future up to a committee that writes generic-blah letters that have the same phrases to describe every candidate.

    just my $.02 ;)
     
  10. Hmmm...don't think my school used them. Even if they did, I can't imagine it being very good, since it probably involved profs who weren't too familiar with who I was.
     
  11. StewieGriffin

    StewieGriffin Junior Member
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    thanks for the input guys..

    so if i understand it correctly the three recs i get from facutly, 2 science, 1 nonscience do not actually go into my application separately. They are consolidated into one big letter including info from my comittee interview??
    that kind of sucks, cuz my 2 science recs are ok, but my nonscience rec is from this prof whom i took a bunch of classes with and knows me pretty well. he will write me the bomb rec letter cuz weve talked extensively on my med school plans.
    also, i was really wanting to use as my science recs, two advisors/mentors whom I worked with either during one whole summer or during this past year in research labs. they know me much better than my two science professors and would def be able to write recs that are more personal. It is just that they are not affiliated with the faculty at my school and the premed office will not take them.

    anyways, i'm not sure if i should go with the committee (because it does seeem pretty important to get this letter if my school provides them) or if i should get recs from peeps not affliated with my school (but know me better). maybe i could do both???
     
  12. Oh is that how it works? Man, that does suck.
     
  13. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    if your school has them...then it is a very big deal.

    if your school doesnt, its just a hassle to find the 5 LORs to cover the requirements of all the schools.

    if im not mistaken, the premedical committee letter is the only letter that is needed since it combines what all the other professors who write you a letter think about you....

    and if the person that is writing your premed committee letter is well known among med schools then that just helps you out even more...
     
  14. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    and another reason why i think is a decently big deal...

    is that if you have a premed committee and you dont have a letter from them then you have explain to the med schools why...cause the lack of one could mean that the premed committee just didnt think you had what it takes to get accepted and that could be a big negative against you if you dont have a good reason for not having one.
     
  15. ellemarii

    ellemarii Member
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    i'd have to disagree...based on my situation, that is. my school had one, but it wasn't worth going through the hassle since i had great lors from other profs. not one of the schools asked me why i didn't use a committee letter. and just for the record, it didn't ruin my chances of getting into school. i was accepted at half the schools i applied to.
    but, that was my situation. personally, i would think you'd want the best people to represent you. if your school has the BEST committee with world-renowned profs, then go for it. chances are, this isn't the case.
    again, it's in your hands. leave it up to people who don't know anything about you or give a crap about you, that's the kind of representation you're going to get.
     

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